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Florence R. Sullivan & J. Camille Cammack: Testing our schools into the ground

Saturday, January 31, 2015

AMHERST — Our schools’ testing season is once again upon us and with this new testing season comes new proposed federal regulations that seek to increase the already high-stakes nature of this testing. Testing has long been a part of education and schooling. But it is only since No Child Left Behind, enacted under George W. Bush, that large-scale testing has been so widely used in high stakes ways. Tests …

Gordon Shaw: Why public investment is critical to Valley CDC project in Northampton

Friday, January 30, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — As the Northampton City Council prepares to vote Thursday on approval of community preservation funds to develop affordable housing on the site of the former Northampton lumber yard, the Northampton Housing Partnership offers some context on whether this is an appropriate project to support. From the Partnership’s perspective, the charge to do so is critical, as articulated in Northampton’s Housing Needs …

Barry Roth: Let’s calculate future costs of Pleasant Street project

Friday, January 30, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — I am a longtime supporter of the Community Preservation Act and believe it serves a valuable function to enhance historical preservation, affordable housing, parks and recreation and open space. That said, I believe its funds would be used improperly as a down payment for the Valley CDC project at a former lumberyard on Pleasant Street. The proposed project, to its credit, …

Andy Morris-Friedman:

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Andrew Trushaw: When protesters turn around and ‘profile’ police officers

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — On Nov. 25, I was in downtown Northampton and watched as a crowd of several hundred gathered to express their feelings and protest the decision by a grand jury in Missouri not to indict Officer Darren …

The myth of ‘public’ and ‘private’ in contemporary life

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The accepted distinction between the public and the private has no meaning when seriously viewed. Rhetoric, not reality. A large, vital and expanding part of what is called the public sector is for all practical effect in the private sector. — John Kenneth Galbraith, “The Economics of Innocent …

Mary A. Nelen: Food that tastes like freedom

Sunday, December 28, 2014

EASTHAMPTON — Summer people line up under a leaf canopy on the green. An al fresco supper awaits them. Sunflowers hold down 40 fluttering tablecloths and a hula-hoop woman cavorts with a red-headed boy in face paint. Laughter is heard over an insatiable appetite for heirloom tomatoes and …

Jim Palermo: Let’s listen first, debate later

Friday, December 26, 2014

SOUTHAMPTON — There is a need for a quiet place in which we can discuss (not debate) issues that affect our lives. Unfortunately, issues such as the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri, are too often usurped by news outlets, each seeking to place its own spin. The alleged …

Don Robinson: Stories of the birth of Jesus

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

ASHFIELD — Two weeks ago I exchanged emails with a devout friend. We were both feeling depressed about the state of the world. War and rumors of war seemed to be everywhere. My friend said she sometimes wished that Christ had come in power and great glory, a …

Jim Cahillane: An airman’s Christmas trip home

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

WILLIAMSBURG — One common thread that we Americans have woven into our ideals is the concept of being home for Christmas. Home is not only the place where, as Robert Frost observed, they have to take you in, but inside ourselves as that warm and welcoming place that …

Dave Roitman: No holiday from Keystone XL pipeline debates

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

FLORENCE — Have any relatives who like to push your climate change buttons? Think they’ll go after you on the Keystone XL pipeline? Or maybe you’re skeptical yourself. Here are five popular myths about the pipeline and how you can debunk each one – for yourself or your …

Pat Hynes & Frances Crowe: When peace settled in, one night, a century ago

Monday, December 22, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Along the western front of World War I lie miles of cemeteries for British, Scottish, Belgian, French and other soldiers killed in the war. In a lone, out-of-the way plot in this land of teenage war dead, a large cross and a dozen small ones honor …